[arin-ppml] Draft Policy 2009-1: Transfer Policy (Using the Emergency PDP)

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Mar 27 23:44:29 EDT 2009

Hate to jump into this again, but there is some serious self-delusion going on here.

From: arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net [mailto:arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net] On Behalf Of Bill Darte
The 2008-2 while very close to what they wanted [but] was fatally flawed [by] its length, complexity and legalistic language.

2008-2 was a viable if somewhat conservative and bureaucratic proposal. It became lengthy and complex because of good-faith efforts to respond to the dialogue on this list. I never believed that its complexity was crippling and always believed that however far it was from my own preferences, it was much better than doing nothing. The people who opposed it were simply being rigid and clinging to the good old days of a pre-scarcity address space. IMHO they are the ones responsible for the current issue.

And, I might add the serious resistance by the community to any form of for-fee transfer policy.

I love this word "the community." For those of us who understand grammar, the presence of the definite article is striking. It suggests homogeneity where there obviously is none. As I recall there are about a dozen vocal opponents to the idea of transfer markets, and an equal number of vocal supporters. And when ARIN conducted a survey they found that the majority actually favored the idea. But the vocal minority succeeded in blocking the idea. Hooray for consensus.

So a policy that seemed to be OK with them (since there was little overall resistance to it) was proposed...2008-6.  Its (if I do say so myself) careful crafting was all about drawing the greatest consensus through protections, explicit rationale and simplicity barely passed the ACs assessment of consensus...this was helped by the explicit and outspoken encouragement (LA meeting) by ARIN counsel.

I never understood 2008-6. As far as I could see it was an attempt to permit transfers while assuring everyone that everything was the same and nothing was changing. Another interpretation is that you can't rely on "consensus" among a "community" when dealing with basic economic distributional conflicts and fundamental differences in ideology. The Board - probably wisely - realized that action had to be taken, and took action.

Seriously, put aside differences about the substantive policy and ask yourself a fundamental question about consensus policy making. Perhaps it will help to put it in a different context. Suppose that The Fed's response to the financial crisis relied on "consensus" decision making and you had roughly half "the community" warning that the entire economy was headed for catastrophe unless we did X and the other half saying that we face a catastrophe if we don't do Y. If there is no "consensus" then the only option is to do nothing - which both sides think is not a viable option. What then?

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